About Us

The organization in this area has a complicated history. A first meeting took place in Hartford on April 2, 1889. It was instituted by thirteen members of the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution. When the assembly took place, however, it was convened by William O. McDowell of New Jersey, whose history has been reported previously. A constitution adopted here was, no doubt through McDowell’s influence, based on that of New Jersey. This organization applied to the New York Society for recognition as an independent State Society but was refused. In time it followed the lead of New Jersey, forming the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution later that year.

A Connecticut State Society was organized in accordance with the procedures of the General Society of the Sons of the Revolution as defined by the Constitution of 1890 as a result of a call issued by the Executive Committee of the New York Society on May 24, 1893. It was incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut on September 7, 1893. Officers elected on that date were: Colonel Dwight Morris, President; the Honorable Daniel Nash Morris, Vice President; Cyrus Sherwood Bradley, Secretary: Colonel Henry Walter Wessels, Treasurer; Nathan Gillette Pond, Registrar; and the Reverend Alexander Hamilton, Chaplain. This Society was received by the General Society at the Baltimore General Meeting of April 19, 1894.7° At the General Society Meeting in Boston the following year, Connecticut was represented by Louis J. Allen, the Reverend N. Ellsworth Cornwall, Jessup Wakeman, Robert Peel Wakeman and William Freeman French M.D.

For many years the chief enterprise of the Connecticut Society was the maintenance of “The Nathan Hale School-house” in East Haddam, where Hale taught 1773-1774. The building was erected about 1750 and was used as a school-house until 1799, when it became a dwelling. In 1899 it was presented to Colonel Richard Henry Green of the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution. Green, in turn, gave it to the New York Society. At a meeting of the Connecticut Society held November 14, 1899 a communication was read from James M. Montgomery, Secretary of the New York Society, asking the Connecticut Society to accept the historic schoolhouse. The gift was accepted. The building and a small surrounding park on an eminence on the banks of the Connecticut River were dedicated by the Society on June 6, 1900, the 145th anniversary of Nathan Hale’s birth. The schoolhouse became the Connecticut Society’s headquarters.

“Registers” were issued by this Society in 1908, 1913 and perhaps in other years. In 1911 there were 208 members reported, but membership gradually dwindled until 1929, after which no reports were received by the General Society for several years. In 1934 it was stated at the Triennial that “Connecticut has gone over to the other society.”

However, nineteen members of the Connecticut Society were reported for 1938 and its officers included Rollin U. Tyler Esq., President; Burton L. Lawton, Vice President; Hubert D. Tracy, Secretary-Treasurer; Harry W. Reynolds, Registrar, and Professor Arthur Adams, Chaplain. In 1938 this Society considered itself “still in existence”—as an independent society. It had repaired the roof of the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse with hand-split shingles from Vermont and improved the park around it by planting trees. The Society continued to award annual prizes for schoolchildren’s essays. The Connnecticut Sons of the Revolution met at the same time and place as the local SAR but as a separate organization.

Possession of the Hale Schoolhouse was retained and in 1940 twelve members were reported. General President John Bion Richards reported at the General Meeting in Philadelphia in 1940, “The Connecticut Society has rejoined; although they had been inactive for many years as far as the General Society is concerned, they kept their organization. They have twelve members. They own considerable real estate there and they are now going to go ahead as a regular member of our General Society In 1943 the Connecticut Society was again “welcomed back.”

Since 1952 no membership statistics have been reported to the General Society, but in 1961 the General President stated that efforts were still being made to re-activate this Society. In 1967 he reported that Connecticut had been “taken over by the SAR,” and in 1982 the Society was reported “lost” Colonel Frank S. Hale II, Regional Vice President, said to the Board of Managers in St. Paul in October 1993, “Regarding Connecticut. . .there is a possibility of forming a new society in that state, even though most members residing there tend to belong to the New York or the Rhode Island Societies.”